When Molly Hooper opened the door to her flat, she was almost relieved to find Mycroft Holmes standing on the threshold, rather than the Holmes who usually woke her up in the middle of the night.
“What’s happened now?” she said. “Is it Sherlock?”
Mycroft Holmes appeared uncomfortable in a way she had never seen before. Usually buttoned up and proper, he had a windblown look to him. He was actually disheveled. He looked…embarrassed, which made her a bit nervous, honestly. He also didn’t speak. Just stared at her for a full minute, opening and closing his mouth, like he couldn’t find the words he needed to say.
“Mr. Holmes, what’s going on?” A horrible, terrifying thought struck her. I…love you. I love you. “Oh god, is it Sherlock? Is…is he…hurt?” Using again? That would explain a lot.
This seemed to jolt Mycroft into action. He reached out and, unbelievably, put a hand on her forearm, squeezing. “Dr. Hooper, no! My brother is absolutely…fine. Not hurt. No.” He squeezed her arm again, before letting his drop away. “But I do need to speak with you about him. May I come in?”
Despite the fact that she was furious with Sherlock, more angry than she thought she had ever been with anyone, her shoulders slumped in relief. Whatever this was though…it couldn’t be good, having Mycroft Holmes show up on your doorstep at nearly 3am.
She stepped back into her flat, opening the door wider and silently inviting him to follow her. Mycroft stepped over the threshold, and a few paces inside, stopping in the middle of the room, looking around, assessing. He turned to Molly and asked, strangely, “Where is your kitchen?”
“My kitchen?” Alright. Odd. She pointed across the open space. Her flat was open plan, and the kitchen was apparent as soon as you walked through the door.
Mycroft nodded. “Yes, yes, of course.” He took off across the space, Molly following close behind. He stepped into the middle of the room, looking around, a curious expression on his face. Molly stood in the doorway, watching him, trying to figure out what he was playing at. He began spinning around in a slow circle, looking up and down, seeking...something.
He’s off his nut. “Are you particularly interested in kitchens, Mr. Holmes?” she asked.
“Hmmmm?” he replied, still spinning and scanning.
Oh god. The kitchen. Say it like you mean it.
Molly moved toward him, grabbing his arm and stopping his momentum. “What the hell is going on? Why are you in my flat at 3am? Where is Sherlock? Did he send you? Are you part of whatever game he’s playing at this time?” Mycroft looked down at her hand, holding his arm, and Molly dropped it and stepped back. He scared her, rather, but she was too angry and upset to be scared of him right now. “Of course you are. Tell me what’s going on right now, or get the hell out of my kitchen and my flat.”
Mycroft Holmes was tired. Tired, sore and angry. Angry at his sister. At himself. At Sherlock for asking this of him. Coward. Though looking at Molly Hooper’s angry, hurt face, tear tracks staining her cheeks, he couldn’t say he blamed Sherlock for pawning this distasteful duty off on to him. Emotions were NOT Mycroft’s milieu, not even a little, and perhaps that was a strength at this moment. He could get through this without humiliating Molly Hooper more than necessary. More than she had been humiliated. All his fault. Only fair.
Mycroft said not a word, but walked confidently to three different points in her kitchen, fiddled a bit, and each time came back with something tiny in his hand. Something tiny and well hidden. He walked back to Molly, grabbed her hand, and placed the objects gently in her palm. She looked down at them, curiously, then back up at Mycroft. “What?”, she began, and Mycroft interrupted her. “Dr. Hooper, if you would put the kettle on, I’ll gladly explain everything. But, honestly, I could murder a cup of tea right now. Would you be so kind?”
Molly stared at the objects in her hand, then back to Mycroft. She studied his face. Tired. Exhausted, really. Sad. Angry. At himself? For the first time ever, Molly saw a resemblance to his younger brother. She’d seen that look on Sherlock’s face. Many times. And it never boded well. Never.
She dropped the objects, whatever the hell they were, into the pocket of her dressing gown, and moved past Mycroft to the put on the kettle. “Go sit down, Mr. Holmes. You look like you’re about to fall over. I’ll bring the tea.” She started the kettle, while Mycroft moved to the other room, and dropped wearily onto her sofa. It was comfortable. There was a cat at one end, curled up, tail to nose, eyeing him. Mycroft despised cats. The cat’s eyes dropped lazily closed, and so did Mycroft’s.
The next thing Mycroft Holmes knew, he was being gently shaken awake. His eyes popped open. He was still upright, hands gently folded in his lap. Always the gentleman. Molly Hooper’s hand was on his shoulder, and she was looking at him with…was it concern? Hard to tell. She had placed a beautiful, old tea tray on the table in front of him, pot steaming. Antique. Grandmother’s. Sentiment. She began pouring them both a cup, and he noticed a plate, piled high with biscuits. Homemade. Likes to bake. Very good at it. Grandmother again. Brings them to work because she has no one else to share them with.
Molly asked quietly how he took his tea. She prepared him a perfect cup. Then herself. She seated herself beside him on the sofa, a good distance away, one did NOT crowd a Holmes, and pulled her feet up under her. She watched Mycroft take a small sip, his eyes closing with pleasure. After a quiet moment, while they both carefully sipped, Molly offered, “You can have a biscuit.” No response. “You look hungry.” Nothing. “I won’t tell Sherlock.”
Mycroft looked at her out of the corner of his eye. One side of her mouth was slightly drawn up in an impish smile, but her eyes…her eyes were sad. He sighed and reached for a biscuit, dipping it briefly into his tea and popping it into his mouth. Heaven. He chewed carefully and swallowed. Took another fortifying sip of tea, then put the cup carefully down. He turned to Molly, who was watching him warily over her own cup of tea. Bracing herself.
“Sherlock and I have a sister.”
Mycroft was on his third cup of very good tea. The plate of excellent biscuits was embarrassingly depleted. He’d told the story, beginning to end, not leaving anything out, a rarity for him, and now there was only blessed quiet. He was hoarse from talking, and frankly sick of listening to his own voice, something he’d never been before. Sherlock would be so pleased.
Molly Hooper had listened to everything, asking pointed questions, and letting him answer completely, without interrupting. There was a wonderful quality about her that Mycroft had never appreciated before. She didn’t judge. Astonishing, really. She hadn’t exclaimed or cried, even when he told her the true story behind Sherlock’s phone call. In fact, the only time she had ever shown emotion was when he told her about Eurus and the little girl on the plane, and Victor Trevor. "Poor thing. Oh…poor, poor thing." When he told her that he had lied to his parents, and Sherlock, about Eurus’ death so many years ago, she'd laid her hand on his arm briefly. "That must have been so hard. You were trying to protect them, I know."
When the story was over, and the tea things cleared - "Just sit, you’re exhausted, I’ll do it" - she walked him to the door, and out onto the stoop where his car had been waiting. She handed over the three little cameras, and curled his fist over them with her own small hand. Destroy them.
She had thanked him, thanked him!, for telling her the truth, and even dared to place a small kiss on his cheek in farewell. As she turned back into her flat, day finally dawning, he grabbed her arm gently and pulled her back to face him.
“And Sherlock?” He finally asked. For after all, that was what Sherlock had really wanted from him. He was there to retrieve the cameras, of course. To guard her privacy. But what Sherlock had really been after was this…what did all this mean to his friendship with Molly Hooper. Had he destroyed it beyond repair?
Molly’s lips quirked. “Sentiment, Mycroft?” The first time she had used his given name. “I suppose I’m not at my best, Molly.” He smiled at her. “I’ve been wearing the same socks for three days.” A real smile this time. A laugh. Beautiful.
She sobered. “The honest answer?” He nodded. “I don’t know. The idea of facing him again…though I suppose I owe him an apology.”
Mycrofts eyebrows jumped. “You owe HIM an apology?”
She nodded, looking down at her feet. “I was having a very bad day. Terrible, really. When he called I wasn’t…It wasn’t a good time for games, which I understand now it wasn’t, but I thought it was. I thought he knew, and was making fun of me. Or worse, that he was high. I know I’m rambling, sorry. I was so angry, so furious, and I forced him to say something. Something I knew was hard for him, and worse, something I knew he didn’t mean. To make myself feel better, and because…because I wanted to hurt him, like I thought he was trying to hurt me.” Tears were imminent again, and Mycroft felt horrible all of a sudden, like he had kicked a puppy. She went on. “Once something is said. Out loud. It’s hard to take back. Can I forgive him? Easily. But I don’t know if I can forget. I’m afraid I won’t be able to. We’ll see. That’s the best I have right now on thirty minutes sleep in two days.”
Mycroft nodded and took her hand. “Sherlock sent me here, you know.” Another small nod from Molly. “He told me you were the most forgiving person he’s ever known. Of course you forgive him. Forgive yourself.” That got a small smile. He brought her tiny hand up to his face and kissed her knuckles. The look on Molly’s face as he did this made him want to laugh, she was so astonished. He released her and turned to go, getting down three steps before something occurred to him, and he turned back to her. “Why were you having such a bad day?”
Molly wrapped her arms around her waist. Protective. “It was supposed to be my wedding day.”
Ah. Ted? Tony?
Mycroft nodded, not knowing what to say, except, “my brother is an idiot.”
Molly nodded again, “a complete arse.”
Molly watched as Mycroft climbed into the back of the luxury car. He held a hand up to her, and then he was gone, whisked away to god know’s where. She hoped for his sake it was to home and bed, as she turned to make her way to her own.